Friends! Have you ever let ugly words fall out of your mouth and then say, “How did that happen?” Followed by groveling, apologizing, and more agonizing repair jobs.
I can remember exactly where I was when I was about to utter something, knowing I shouldn’t divulge whatever it was, but saying it anyway. Mercy.
I’m certain the Apostle Paul and I are going to have some fabulous lightning round conversations when Heaven calls me home. (“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15 NIV) Can he read our minds, or what?
There’s a lovely, hysterical-while-helpful book out you may wish to find, like yesterday. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest it just could be the handbook for the holidays.
The book? Keep it Shut—What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman. (www.karenehman.com She’s got a wonderful website with lots to offer…)
Four pages of endorsements later (!!!), my good buddy, Liz Curtis Higgs, is one of a slew who gives a big thumbs’ up. Lizzie says, “Keep It Shut offers hope for all of us who struggle with controlling our tongues. Karen’s honest and compassionate advice teaches us how to weigh our words and think before we speak…Helpful, practical, biblical.”
Right out of the starting gate, Karen does a word search in the Bible concluding, “God places great importance on the way we use our speech. In fact, the words tongue, talk, speak, words, mouth, and silence are used over 3,500 times in the Bible.” Wow.
One of several great Bible verses Karen gives us is Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (NIV)
Check it out below in The Message:
Yes, well, that should certainly make us think…
Karen bravely tackles tough topics such as gossip, flattery, speaking the truth in love, controlling your anger, etc. Whereas I’d prefer to flee (brave soul that I’m not!), she urges us to be upfront, honest, and sincere. Oh dear. But, and you knew that was coming, thankfully she includes tips which are doable.
One of my favorite tips she offers comes from a section called “Pause before you pounce.” She says, “Don’t say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.”
May we all make note of the permanent vs. temporary point. This is huge. I’ve been a perfect example of this when I’m tired. That’s when my speech gets sloppy, slippery, and slimy. (Displaying this book in every room of the house comes to mind.)
Another person I can’t wait to meet and talk to in Heaven is dear Brother James. His first chapter, especially verses 19-20 tells it like it is: (This is also in Karen’s book.)
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
EVERYONE should be
QUICK to listen,
SLOW to speak and
SLOW to become angry,
Because human anger does NOT produce the righteousness that God desires.” (NIV)
In addition to offering timely Scripture, Karen blesses us with extremely handy-n-helpful lists. A couple favorites are: “Proverbs’ Top Ten ‘Tweets’ on the Tongue” and “Top Ten Verses to Watch Your Words”. Precisely why I suggest this book to be a handbook for getting thru’ the holidays, or any day for that matter!
As God would orchestrate, I packed a favorite magazine along with a bag full of books to take on a recent road trip to Virginia. While I was flipping thru’ the magazine, lo and behold I landed on an article, Mind Your Words. Guess who wrote it? Yes, our author we’re talking about, Karen Ehman. Is that some God-incident or what? (This is resource #2, and there’s more…)
The magazine? Oh, here’s another gift idea for Christmas. Check out Life Beautiful magazine. (Below is the cover from the new Winter Issue. Karen’s article is in the Fall Issue.) It’s the best. (www.lifebeautifulmagazine.com )
Karen opens the article with yet another killer Scripture:
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3 ESV)
Clearly this message was for me because now enter resource #3 the very same week about the very same topic: Hello?
Hubster read a devotion from our Married for Life—Inspirations from those Married 50 Years or More by Russ L. Potter II and Bill Morelan. (I shared how this book has helped us as well as our married children this past summer.)
That particular morning, we read about Melvin and Margaret Elliston, married June 12,1944. Their two cents’ worth? “When you get into an argument, take a good long walk to cool down.”
The authors add: “In the heat of an argument, emotions arise that often are better left unspoken, for thoughtless words can cause frightful damage to a loved one’s heart and soul. And a wound inflicted in an instant may take months to heal.” That is the permanent vs. temporary train of thought Karen teaches us.
Proverbs 29:11 seals this concept: “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
Lots to chew on….Let’s close with a beautiful prayer from the first chapter of Keep It Shut:
‘Til next time!
P.S. I just received an email from Ann Voskamp’s blog. Guess who her guest author is from Cyber Monday? Our very own Karen Ehman! Karen is sharing lovely quotes from her newest book Listen, Love, Repeat – Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World.
Anyone reading my mind? Yes, this should be next on our list…Blessings!